Pumpkin Pecan Dessert {in a jar}

For the past seveal years, for Thanksgiving at our house, Pumpkin Pie has been replaced with what we call Pumpkin Pecan Dessert.  This dessert is so simple to make, and everyone (even my non-pumpkin-pie-eating husband) loves it!  I’ve also made this dessert several times for potlucks and it’s always a hit!

This year, since I’m on a bit of a “deserts in a jar” kick… I thought this Pumpkin Pecan Dessert would be a perfect candidate for an “in a jar” treat.  I bought some short, wide mouth 1/2 pint jars (from the grocery store), which make one nice sized serving, and would make a pretty adorable gift too!  This dessert is even better topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Pecan Dessert

1 can (15oz) pumpkin

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

 (or 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon allspice)

1 boxed cake mix (white or yellow cake)

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

3/4 cup butter, melted

whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions ~

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F

2.  In a large bowl add the first 5 ingredients, and whisk together until fully combined.

If you’re making one 9″ x 13″ dish of dessert….

3.  Spray dish with non-stick cooking spray.

4.  Pour pumpkin mixture into 9″ x 13″ dish.

5.  Sprinkle cake mix (dry) onto of pumpkin layer.

6.  Then sprinkle chopped pecans all over.

7.  Pour melted butter over top.

8.  Bake 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and dessert is a nice golden brown.

9.  Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

If you’re making this dessert in jars….

3.  Lightly spray 12, wide mouth 1/2 pint jars with non-stick cooking spray.

4.  Use a measuring cup to put about 1/2 cup pumpkin mixture into each jar.

5.  Sprinkle two rounded tablespoon of dry cake mix on top of pumpkin layer, in each jar.

6.  Then sprinkle on one rounded tablespoon of chopped pecans in each jar.

7.  Pour one tablespoon of melted butter on top (of each jar).

8.  Bake jars on a large baking sheet (so they are easy to put in and out of the oven) for about 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center of a jar comes out clean, and dessert is golden brown.

9.  Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Note:  When I baked mine using these measurements they filled the jars fully when baked, and as they cooled they shrunk down just a bit, a perfect amount of space to close the jar.

Before serving, top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This dessert is equally delicious the next day.

Recipe Source:  Betty Crocker, Holiday Recipes booklet, 2000.

Happy Fall Baking!


  1. Looks wonderful! Found you through Pinterest looking for pumpkin desserts — making these for a get-together at our home next weekend — thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi! I’m wondering if these are okay to be shipped as well. Are they okay to not be refrigerated for 2 days via mail or do they have to be kept cold? Thanks!

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  4. Since the jars will be sealed, can I make these a few days in advance and leave at room temperature? I’ll be traveling with them for 3 hours so refrigeration isn’t an option in the car. Or should I just make them once we arrive? (Trying to cut down on food prep once we’re there so doing things in advance is preferred).

    • Nicole- I’m not sure if you mean to leave the at room temp for a few days or hours? To answer either… yes, you can make it a day or two in advance and keep it at room temperature.

  5. This sounds absolutely delicious! It’s also a great christmas gift I think.

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  7. Wow – I just used my office to test this recipe out and it was a big hit! Everyone loved the dessert, the concept and how easy it was. Now I will make them for my Bunco group. Needed 12 and these will be perfect. Thanks!

  8. I got the 1/2 pint wide month jars, but they look different than yours in the picture. Mine look shorter, stouter. They still worked ok. Just wondered if your pictures were actually the wide mouth pints.

  9. Looking for a recipe that would be okay for shipping overseas/deployed. Anyone tried these and sealing for awhile?…any other recipe suitable for this is welcomed!! Any idea how long they are good for? I make this same recipe all the time, byt have changed the yellow cake to spice…have also mixed in dark chocolate with the pecans.

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  11. Well no responses so it looks like I’ll be the tester for this and post the results! Would anyone with canning experience be able to tell me whether to seal these up while warm or after cooled for a two week shipping period….making trustee brownies too just in case these flop :)

    • Hi Sheila,
      I have never tried to keep the desserts fresh more than a couple days. I would be concerned that with the moisture of the pumpkin layer that after more than 3 days they would start to mold. Sealing the jars (via canning) could work it seems. I would suggest sealing them (by steaming in a canner) after they are cool (or slightly warm). Of course you could always experiment with a batch at home… make a batch up and save a couple on your counter, then test after 1 week, or two weeks.

  12. Had something similar at Red Lobster and it was the best dessrt I have had in a long itme.

  13. Question: When you layer in the cake mix, do you mix it in with the pumpkin mixture or just leave it on top? Because I made a batch and when I cut into it that layer was just dry cake mix? HELP!

    • Hi Sara, You did it correctly, just put the dry cake mix on top, do not stir it in. I’m no sure if you made this as individual desserts or one large dessert… for individual desserts you will likely have some cake mix (dry) left over, since you are only using 2 tablespoons for each jar. For either sized dish I might just suggest making sure the dry cake mix is not too thick in any one area, and make sure to drizzle the butter so that it can penetrate each area of the dessert.

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  20. Where did you get you jars from I saw the link to the earlier comment asking about the size, but are they okay to put in the oven?

    • Hi Jackie,
      I bought the jars at a local grocery store, they 1/2 pint (wide mouth) canning jars.
      Try Orchard Hardware Supply, Wal-Mart and Target, I’ve seen them at each of these stores as well. Yes, they are perfectly safe to bake at the temperature listed. These are canning jars, which are made to withstand cooking.

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